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there is such a thing as sand fleas..These are a type of flea found on salt water beaches. I wonder if this is what the op is referring to. I dealt with this years ago. A flea free dog can get overwhelmed in a matter of minutes being on the beach by these things. It took serious cleaning and flea sprays at that time to get them off him. There was easily 400 on him by the time they died and hit the table at the vets. He was only a 25lbs dog. Whether they are a different species of flea I could not tell you. But they swarmed several dogs that day. You literally could see them all over the sand. None of us knew at first what they were till it was too late.
I found this link though...
Sand Flea Bite – Sand Fly Bites - No-See-Um Flies
 
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